While the world eagerly awaits the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, fans of the series got a fun surprise last year with the release of a Warriors-style prequel. The story of the Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity on Nintendo Switch takes place 100 years prior to the events of Breath of the Wild, aiming to tell the narrative of what happened during the Great Calamity that tore apart Hyrule and left Link in a century-long coma. However, those familiar with the story from Breath of the Wild are still in for a few fun twists and surprises in this prequel adventure. Players get to do combat not only as Link, but also as Zelda, Impa, and the four Champions, too.
Where Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (and the original) played much closer to a Dynasty Warriors game with a Zelda theming, Age of Calamity feels much closer to being a Zelda game—Breath of the Wild, specifically—with some Dynasty Warriors elements. Missions are selected from the familiar overworld map of Hyrule and players have much more flexibility than other Warriors games to explore each map without the constraint of a time limit (or time-dependent criteria for rankings). While completing objectives, you also collect various materials and even Korok seeds, further invoking all the feels from Breath of the Wild. These various items obtained from exploration and quest completion are what you then use between battles to enhance characters’ abilities and unlock shops.
An added bonus to this type of advancement throughout the game is that the repetitive grinding that plagued the first Hyrule Warriors game is all but eliminated. I can count on one hand the number of times I repeated a mission simply because I needed to farm some collectible. Naturally playing through each and every mission was also sufficient enough to take Link (my first playthrough main) up to the max character level (though I was frequently using the cooking feature—another Breath of the Wild throwback—to boost my experience gains). The game developers did a tremendous job incorporating all of the best aspects of previous Warriors games while dropping things that made unlocking everything in those past titles such a tedious slog. I’m genuinely very excited about the recently-announced Downloadable Content (DLC) coming out later this year so that I can delve back into Age of Calamity once again. If you loved Breath of the Wild, I’d definitely recommend checking this game out while you wait for the sequel.